THE FIRST question to be considered in reference to the
subject of divine impulse is: where does every impulse come
from? Every movement, every vibration, every motion has
one source. One sees a hint of this in the Bible where it
says, 'The word was God'. The word means vibration and vibration
means movement. In the Vedanta nada Brahma means sound.
Vibration was the first or original aspect of Brahma, the
Creator. In the Quran we read, 'Be – He said – and it became'.
Every impulse, every action on any plane of existence has
its origin in the one source. It is also said in the Quran,
'God is all power; there is no power but God's'. In all
that is done, what is done is by His power.
Now the question arises: If all the scriptures say this,
where does Satan come in? What is the meaning behind the
power of Satan? Another power is suggested besides the power
of God, and sometimes the power attributed to Satan seems
mightier than the power attributed to God. This is a puzzle
to many who wonder where the action of Satan comes in. The
explanation is to be found in the understanding of metaphysics
and of the laws of nature. There is one law, the natural
law, and all that comes directed by nature's law is harmonious.
The gardens that man has made may seem for a moment to improve
upon the forests, but in the end, on examination, the garden
with its artificial structures proves limited in beauty
and harmony. The inspiration one gets in the forest, in
the wilderness is much greater than in the manmade garden,
for there man has made inspiration limited, because the
life he radiates is limited. Man makes a law and finds he
cannot keep it; so he makes another law and is never satisfied,
for he takes no account of nature's laws of peace and harmony.
Men say that nature is cruel; yes, but man is far more
cruel than the animals. Animals have never destroyed so
many lives as man has. All the apparent cruelty of nature
cannot compare with the cruelty, ignorance and injustice
of man. Jesus Christ said, 'Thy will be done'. There is
much for us to learn in this. Man makes another world in
which he lives, a world different from the plan of God,
from the laws of nature, and so the will of God is not done.
The prayer teaches man that he must find what is the will
of God. It is not necessary for the animals and birds to
find out the will of God, for they are directed by nature's
impulse, they are closer to nature than man. The life of
man is so far removed from the life of nature, and so every
movement is difficult. We do not see this at present; with
all our knowledge we make life more and more complicated
and so the strife becomes greater and greater. For every
person, old or young, rich or poor, life is a difficult
struggle, for we go further and further from the impulse
which comes direct from the source whence every impulse
From the metaphysical point of view there are different
rhythms describing the condition of man; they are spoken
of in the Vedanta as sattva, rajas and tamas.
Sattva is a harmonious rhythm, rajas a rhythm
which is not in perfect harmony with nature and tamas
is a rhythm which is chaotic by nature and destructive.
Every impulse that comes to man while he is in this chaotic
rhythm is followed by destructive results. Any impulse coming
to a person when he is in the rhythm of rajas is
accomplished, but the impulse that comes when he is in the
rhythm of sattva is inspired and is in harmony with
the rhythm of the universe.
The active life of man gives little time for concentration
and for putting mind and body into the condition in which
he can experience the rhythm that gives inspiration and
meets with the will of God. This experience comes in answer
to the prayer of Christ, 'Thy will be done on earth as it
is in heaven'. By producing this condition of mind and body
one tunes oneself to a certain pitch which is harmonious
and heavenly and in which the divine will is easily done,
as it is in heaven. It is in this rhythm alone that the
will of God can be done.
It was not any prejudice against the world that made
the great ones leave the world and go to the forests and
caves; they went in order to tune themselves to that rhythm
in which they could experience heaven. Heaven is not a country
or a continent; it is a state, a condition within oneself,
only experienced when the rhythm is in perfect working order.
If one knows this, one realizes that happiness is man's
own property. Man is his own enemy: he seeks for happiness
in the wrong direction and never finds it. It is a continual
illusion. Man thinks, 'If I had this or that I should be
happy for ever', and he never arrives at happiness because
he pursues an illusion instead of the truth. Happiness is
only to be found within, and when man tunes himself he finds
all for which his soul yearns within himself.
The nature of every impulse is such that it goes through
three stages and after the process of these three stages
it is realized as a result, whether it is right or wrong,
beneficent or disadvantageous, as soon as the impulse springs
from within. There is no impulse which in its beginning
is wrong or purposeless or inharmonious, for in the total
sum of all things every impulse has its purpose. It is our
limited outlook that judges. The justice behind is so great
that in the ultimate result everything fits into its proper
place. But in the process through which the impulse passes
it becomes right or wrong – not in the beginning or in the
end, for the beginning has a purpose and the end has answered
This is a question of metaphysics and one must study
it from different points of view or one will be very much
confused. Man with his little knowledge is ready to condemn
or to admire, and thousands of times he fails to judge rightly.
All great souls have realized this in their attainment.
Christ says, 'Judge not'. Then tolerance comes, and when
one realizes what is behind the impulse one says very little.
The first process through which the impulse rises takes
place in the region of feeling, and in this region the impulse
is either strengthened or destroyed. The feeling may be
love or hatred, kindness or bitterness, but whatever the
feeling may be where the impulse rises, it gains strength
to go forward or it is destroyed. For instance, a person
may have a great feeling of kindness; then the impulse of
revenge may rise, but it is destroyed. Another person has
a great feeling of bitterness, and if the impulse is to
forgive it will be destroyed before it ever touches the
reason. Or a person is most kind and, when the impulse towards
revenge has arisen, he feels very uncomfortable; he will
not have to call on thought to judge the impulse, for his
feeling will destroy it. Or a person has a great feeling
of bitterness and the impulse of doing a service of kindness
comes, but it will be destroyed before it reaches the realm
of thought. Or if the impulse rises till it reaches the
realm of thought, then one reasons, 'Why should I help?
Why should I serve? Does he deserve it? Will he benefit
by it? Is it right?' All these problems are settled in this
region. Then thirdly comes the realm of action. If the mind
consumes the impulse it goes no further, but if the mind
allows it, it comes into the region of action and is realized
as a result.
Now one may ask how sages and thinkers have distinguished
the divine impulse among the different impulses that arise
in the heart of man. First we must understand what the word
divine means. Divine means: in a state of perfection. This
state is experienced by God through man. In other words,
when man has risen to the stage of development where he
can be the perfect instrument of God, when nothing of his
own being stands in the way of the direct impulse that comes
from within – that spirit may be called perfect. That which
is most precious, that which is the purpose of man's life
is to arrive at that state of perfection when he can be
the perfect instrument of God.
Once a man has risen to this stage he at first begins
to realize at moments; then, as he develops, for a longer
time, and those who develop still further pass most of their
time in that realization. Then feeling and thought no longer
hinder the divine impulse, for it rises freely and results
in a divine purpose. The message of the prophets and teachers
of all times has been to teach man how to make peace with
God. The fulfillment of life's purpose is in harmonizing
with God, and this is done by distinguishing the divine
How can one distinguish the divine impulse? Just as in
music one can distinguish the true note from the false,
the harmonious chord from the discord; it is only a matter
of ear-training. When the ear is trained one can find out
the slightest discord; the greater the musician, the more
capable he is of finding out harmony and discord, the true
and the false note. Many think that what we call right or
wrong, good or bad, is something we learn or acquire. That
is true when it is man-made right or wrong, but of nature's
right and wrong every little child has a sense. The child
feels a wrong vibration at once; the infant feels if its
surroundings are harmonious or inharmonious, but man confuses
himself so that he can no longer distinguish clearly. For
man to learn to know for himself is a great advance along
the spiritual path. When man is clear as to the feeling
he gets from every impulse, he has advanced far. There are
some who say after the result, 'I am sorry', but it is too
late then, it was not true ear-training.
The divine impulse is an impulse full of love, it gives
happiness, it is creative of peace. The difficulty is that
not every man observes the beginning of the impulse, he
only observes the result. He is like an intoxicated person
and so in time, as in the condition of a drunken man, he
becomes confused and depressed, and there is struggle and
strife. But man was not born for this. He is born for happiness.
Peace, love, kindness and harmony are parts of his own being,
and when a person is unhappy it means that he has lost himself,
he does not know where he is.
Man is seeking for phenomena, he wants wonderworking,
communication with ghosts or spirits, he is looking for
something complex, and yet the simplest thing and the most
valuable thing in life is to find one's true self.